A matter of livelihood for domestic cricketers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 24, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:07 AM, July 24, 2020

A matter of livelihood for domestic cricketers

"I feel the situation will improve little by little but if you think that things should resume when situation becomes very good, by that time cricketers won't be able to survive," Shamsur Rahman Shuvo said while talking to The Daily Star when asked about the difficulty that the pandemic has brought.

Cricket is coming back to life in the country amidst the coronavirus pandemic even if it is on a small scale. A few of the national team players have begun individual training last week at the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB's) training facilities across the country. Plans are being considered to reschedule the postponed tour of Sri Lanka while the U-19 and HP sides are understood to be gearing up for camps. There is however a big portion of professional cricketers outside that spectrum of aforementioned teams. These players are eager for domestic cricket's return as many use it as a platform to get a national team call-up while almost all depend on it financially.

What situation do they find themselves in?

It is not only the financial burden of having to run families, but from a cricketing aspect too, players outside the sphere of the national team have been left in the lurch.

"The situation is such that you won't be able to give everyone opportunities [to train] like before and it's natural that the national team will be given the highest priority," Shamsur said. "Maybe after Eid if you take some time to assess the situation and make the national team academy available for players outside the national team who play in the domestic circuit, we will be greatly benefited.

"Because when matches start, we will be lagging behind those in the national team in terms of skill and fitness levels since they are getting the opportunity but we are not. We understand the situation is difficult but hope the BCB will consider our situation and find some balance. If the gym, indoor facilities and the academy grounds could be used after Eid, since most of the national players who resumed training are done by 3:00pm, it will be better.

"Even national players depend on domestic matches in the BPL and DPL for year-round income. We are all dependent on the Premier League. We might make do till Eid but after that it will be difficult," Shamsur reiterated.

"I don't have any first-class contract. After NCL payments last year, I have not earned a single taka in the last seven or eight months," Brothers Union medium-pacer Alauddin Babu said.

"It's been a very difficult time," he added. "Fitness too is so important for a pacer, cardiological fitness especially. We are doing some small-level work but a break like this creates many issues."

The BCB had handed guidelines to national players on how to work on fitness at home. While those outside have not received such guidelines, some have started work outside or are considering it.

"Since national players' training has begun, we are hoping to get permission to train soon. We have done fitness work at home as was possible. We didn't have any guidelines but started with what means we have. Hopefully after Eid a government directive will arrive so clubs can start proceedings. The BCB are positive and some of us have talked to the CEO and they assured that things will start with the Premier League first. If it doesn't happen then for most it would be difficult bear our families' expenses," said Enamul Haque Jr, who plays for Sylhet Division in the NCL.

"If the Premier League doesn't happen this year we will be in great danger," veteran first-class batsman Tushar Imran said. "We are hopeful but the situation is difficult. If we don't have cricket for a year the clubs won't be keen on paying us. Maybe if we can have a deal to negotiate for some payments this year and compensate with next year's payments, we can make do," he added

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